Amendment 66 will hike state income tax rates, but promises a new fund for K-12 education

DENVER - Amendment 66 is the billion dollar decision for Colorado voters.

If it passes, the current state income tax level of 4.63 percent will be raised:

-5 percent on the first $75,000 of taxable income

-5.9 percent on taxable income greater than $75,000

To see what the increase would mean for you, follow this link to the state's tax calculator: http://ch7ne.ws/1giXTSw

If Amendment 66 fails, the state income tax rate will remain at 4.63 percent.

The passage of Amendment 66 means a new funding source for K-12 education. It's estimated that $950 million would be generated from the new income tax rates.

Amendment 66 would activate Senate Bill 13-213 (http://ch7ne.ws/HkEAIB) which was passed by the legislature earlier this year and signed by the Governor. It calls for 43 percent of the state's general fund to be allocated for K-12 education.

It also allocates at least $200 million each year, including:

-$100 million for an education innovation grant fund

-$80 million for special education funding

Not all of the allocation is for the classroom:

-$5 million annually to reimburse the Department of Education for a new data system to count the number of students

-$1 million annually to reimburse school districts that seek a mill levy election.

Then there is this caveat in the legislation: "The district has discretion concerning the amounts and purposes for which the moneys are budgeted and expended."

The way school districts will get money changes under Amendment 66.

All districts will get more money. However, there is a concern that residents who live in wealthy areas will end up paying more in income taxes, while the district they live in doesn't get the same dollar amount in return. Areas with smaller districts and low-income areas may experience the opposite, where the districts receive more money than the residents are paying in income taxes.

If Amendment 66 passes, school districts will also receive additional funding for each at-risk student and English language learner.

A new online transparency website would also be created, allowing anyone to view how and where the money from Amendment 66 is spent.

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